James challenged to become Man Utd 'superstar' as Red Devils' focus on youth is saluted

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Oli McBurnie, a former Swansea team-mate of the highly-rated winger, is expecting big things from a player that has completed a £15 million transfer

Daniel James has been challenged to become a Manchester United “superstar”, with former Swansea team-mate Oli McBurnie expecting the £15 million ($19m) winger to thrive at Old Trafford.

The Wales international has become the first signing of what is expected to be a busy summer for the Red Devils.

At 21 years of age he is far from the finished article, but he is being tipped to continue a meteoric rise by unlocking further potential on a Premier League stage.

McBurnie told United’s official website: “DJ actually rang me the other day when I was sat on a plane and said: ‘I can’t believe it, Oli, I couldn’t get a game [on loan] at Shrewsbury last season and now I’m at Man United. I can’t believe the mad way football works’.

“He thoroughly deserves everything he gets. I can’t wait to see him do it on the biggest stage and show what he can do.

“He knows exactly what he wants and how to get there. The way he’s developed and improved over the last six months has been unbelievable. You don’t have teams like Manchester United after you if you’re not a top, top player.

“Everyone knows about his speed - he’s easily the quickest player I’ve ever played with - but all the other parts of his game have improved so much in the last six months, since he’s been introduced to first-team football. He’s been playing against experienced full-backs in the Championship and making them look like little kids.”

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McBurnie once represented the Red Devils in the 2013 Milk Cup and is confident that James has what it takes to make an impact at the Theatre of Dreams, adding: “He was asking me what United is like and a lot of things as I know some of the boys there and I am still in contact with them.

“He was asking me what I thought but his mind was already made up – 100 per cent he wanted to go there. The advice I gave him, anyway, was 'United? You can never turn down that club. Go there and make yourself a superstar'.

“That is what he’s got to do and I’m sure United fans will see what he’s all about. He’s electric and the sort of boy who gets fans on their feet and a player all fans want to go to watch.

“He played a lot on the left but played on the right as well and up front at times. He’s by far the quickest player I’ve played with, with his press and his one-versus-one abilities, getting in behind. He’s a nightmare for defenders to try to pick up.

“The more he plays, with better coaching and quality of players to play with, he will only go from strength to strength.” 

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James’ arrival is considered to signal a fresh approach from the Red Devils, with more emphasis being placed on acquiring home-grown talent.

McBurnie said of that philosophy: “It's brilliant - 100 per cent. I think it just shows the talent, young British talent, we have at the minute. Clubs don’t always need to go abroad.

”It’s been a tough season or two for them but the way Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] apparently wants to go, with young, hungry players to go there, who really want to play for United is exactly what they’re getting with DJ. I think it’s a perfect route for them to go down.”

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